Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
The three beautiful vampires Harker encounters in Dracula’s castle are both his dream and his nightmare—indeed, they embody both the dream and the nightmare of the Victorian male imagination in general. The sisters represent what the Victorian ideal stipulates women should not be—voluptuous and sexually aggressive—thus making their beauty both a promise of sexual fulfillment and a curse. These women offer Harker more sexual gratification in two paragraphs than his fiancée Mina does during the course of the entire novel. However, this sexual proficiency threatens to undermine the foundations of a male-dominated society by compromising men’s ability to reason and maintain control. For this reason, the sexually aggressive women in the novel must be destroyed.
Arthur Holmwood buries a stake deep in Lucy’s heart in order to kill the demon she has become and to return her to the state of purity and innocence he so values. The language with which Stoker describes this violent act is unmistakably sexual, and the stake is an unambiguous symbol for the penis. In this way, it is fitting that the blow comes from Lucy’s fiancé, Arthur Holmwood: Lucy is being punished not only for being a vampire, but also for being available to the vampire’s seduction—Dracula, we recall, only has the power to attack willing victims. When Holmwood slays the demonic Lucy, he returns her to the role of a legitimate, monogamous lover, which reinvests his fiancée with her initial Victorian virtue.
The Czarina Catherine is the name of the ship in which Dracula flees England and journeys back to his homeland. The name of ship is taken from the Russian empress who was notorious for her -promiscuity. This reference is particularly suggestive of the threat that hangs over Mina Harker’s head: should Van Helsing and his men fail, she will be transformed into the same creature of appetites as Lucy.